Grania, written by Lady Gregory, will run from Saturday, 21st September to Saturday, 26th October, in its first ever production on the national stage. The Peacock Stage will host the world premiere of genre-disrupting SAFE HOUSE, written by Enda Walsh and Anna Mullarkey, running from Thursday, 3rd October to Saturday, 9th November 


“You and I together could have changed the world entirely.” 

Written more than a century ago and reimagined for the Abbey Stage in a contemporary context by Artistic Director of the Abbey Theatre Caitríona McLaughlin, Grania is based on the Irish legend of Gráinne, Diarmuid and Fionn; a story of love, lust, power and desire. Gráinne and Fionn, a royal couple in waiting, are due to be wed before Fionn’s fiercest warrior Diarmuid returns, who Gráinne quickly falls for and runs away with. Friends are pitted against each other while a woman creates her own destiny, laying bare the tension between duty and passion. Book tickets for Grania here.


“Never to stay and waste and breathe 

In a home that tells me ‘No’ 

Live life that’s full and free 

When my heart it tells me ‘Go’.” 

Meanwhile, SAFE HOUSE, a song cycle, a gig and a smashed-up memory play, introduces a young woman living alone in an outdoor handball alley in the Irish countryside, among rubbish and debris. Through song, music, recorded voice and film, audiences meet Grace – played by Kate Gilmore – before being taken inside her fractured thoughts, her past and present, to try and make some sense of it all. Walsh joins forces with composer Anna Mullarkey to make this singular piece of theatre, concerned with the worlds we make for ourselves when the world doesn’t want us or isn’t enough. Book tickets for SAFE HOUSE here.

“Two brilliant, intriguing, entertaining and very different plays…” 

Commenting on the announcement, Co-Director of the Abbey Theatre, Artistic Director Caitríona McLaughlin said: “The Irish story throughout history is a story of displacement and exile. Of an existence eked out on the fringes. A narrative so embedded in our literature and music, our culture and psyche, that it seems astonishing how often we forget it  but then memory is unreliable. Diarmuid and Gráinne is considered one of the greatest love stories of all time. In Grania, Lady Gregory’s version certainly is that, but not in the way you might think. I’ve wanted to direct it for a long time and a play about a couple living in exile, fleeing for their lives and living in a tent and by their wits seemed pertinent.  

When Enda Walsh says he’s working on a new project you grab it with both hands. Enda’s work speaks to mind, body and soul in a way that unsettles and provokes the imagination and the intellect. SAFE HOUSE takes us both inside Grace’s memory and outside, watching her trying to live, alone, in a symbol of Irelands abandoned history. We watch her struggling to piece together her own history through a kaleidoscope of unclear memories and feelings.  

“I believe Irish audiences don’t like to be told what to think. Personally, I always like to come at an issue askance, creating space to consider and reflect. These two productions are very consciously paired to create space for our audiences to reflect on our past and those who had to flee our shores, for a myriad of reasons, and on our present and those we’re asked to shelter, also for a myriad of reasons. At the same time, they are simply two brilliant, intriguing, entertaining and very different plays and can be engaged with purely for pleasure and for a great story.” 

These plays sit alongside the Gregory Project, a body of work that marks 120 years of the National Theatre of Ireland and honours the legacy of co-founder Lady Gregory as a tenacious, passionate, and relentless supporter of Irish artists, storytellers and writers.